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How To Dispose Of Your Wood Ashes

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, insert or heating stove, you undoubtedly have ashes to get rid of. Cleaning and ridding your fireplace of ashes isn’t a challenging task, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you to properly care for your fireplace and put all of those ashes to good use.

Tips for clearing away fireplace ashes.

Clearing away fireplace ashes seems easy enough, but there are some things you should know before you begin shoveling and sweeping ashes. First, it’s actually best to keep a bed of ashes, about 1 inch deep, in your fireplace during the fire-burning season. The cushion of ashes will insulate your fire to help it warm and grow faster. At the end of the season, however, your firebox should be thoroughly cleared of ashes. The ashes can retain moisture and cause metal firebox components to rust.

Ashes also are highly acidic in nature, and they can degrade your firebox if they are left standing for too long. When you are ready to clear away ashes, the first step is to make sure the ash bed has cooled completely. It’s best to wait at least 24 hours after a fire has burned out, as hot embers can hide within the ashes. Use a metal shovel to scoop ashes into a metal bucket. The bucket should have a tight-fitting lid, as any smoldering ashes or embers can emit carbon dioxide, posing a hazard. After you are confident that the ashes are complete cooled and free of burning embers within the ash bucket, they are ready for disposal.

Tips for ash disposal.

Your bagged ashes can go right in with your regular garbage, but you can put those ashes to good use! Ashes are a gardener’s dream. Great for plants that love calcium, like tomatoes, and they can be turned directly into the soil during planting. Ashes also can form a barrier from slugs and snails around plants; just sprinkle your ashes in a ring around your plants, and any slimy pests can’t inch over the rough ashes.

Ashes have uses beyond the garden, as well. During the winter, ashes can be sprinkled on ice to encourage melting, or sprinkled on driveways to increase tire traction. They can be scrubbed into cement walks and driveways to hide stains, and they can deodorize a stinky pet. With their abrasive nature, ashes can be mixed with water to scrub the glass on fireplace doors or even to polish silver. If you’re an ambition do-it-yourselfer, you can even use your fireplace ashes to make your own soap!

And don’t forget your annual cleaning!

As you clear away ashes for the spring, don’t forget about your annual chimney sweeping and inspection! Spring is the perfect time to have your fireplace cleaned for the year. Call Your Chimney Sweep to schedule an appointment; we’ll sweep away all of the soot and ashes to keep your fireplace clean and safe from ash-induced damage.

By Joe Sauter on April 17th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Proper ash disposal

If you have a woodstove or wood-burning fireplace, you know that it comes with the regular chore of removing ashes. One cord of firewood produces 50 pounds of ash, and the average home utilizing wood as a heat source burns three cords of wood each year. That’s a lot of ash to clear out of your fireplace and dispose of properly!

While it seems simple, clearing ash from you fireplace does involve some risk. Improper ash disposal can lead to burns, a home fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

We’ve put together our steps for successful ash removal.

  • Don’t remove all the ash. You shouldn’t remove ashes from the fireplace each time you build a fire. While too much ash can lead to corrosion in your firebox or inhibit your ability to build a fire, an inch bed of ash at the bottom of your fireplace helps insulate your fire and helps your fire burn more efficiently. shovel removing ash - Indianapolis IN - Your Chimney Sweep
  • Leave ashes in the fireplace for at least 24 hours after a fire before you attempt to remove them. Otherwise, you risk removing smolder embers, which can lead to a fire or carbon monoxide emission in your home.
  • Treat ashes like they’re still hot. Always assume that the ashes in your fireplace are hot, as smoldering embers can lurk at the bottom of your fireplace for some time. Wear protective gloves, and use a metal shovel to remove the ash.
  • Leave burning embers in the fireplace. If you do notice embers that are still burning or smoking, push them to the back of your fireplace and leave them there, surrounded by a bed of ashes. Don’t try to remove them with the rest of your ashes.
  • Place ashes in a metal bucket. Once you have cleared your ashes, place the bucket away from combustibles in a well ventilated area, in case it is still burning. If the ashes are smoking, they will release carbon monoxide that can build up to dangerous levels in an unventilated room.

Once your ashes have been removed from your bucket and left to cool for some time, you can bag them and place them with the rest of your trash, but you may want to consider saving them, as there are several good uses for fireplaces ashes. If you’re a gardener, the ashes can be sprinkled on and turned over into your soil, or they can be placed with the rest of your compost. Ash also can be sprinkled around plants to keep away slugs and snails. Ashes also can be used to melt ice, remove pavement stains and control algae in ponds. A wet sponge dipped in ash makes a great scrubber for glass fireplace doors, and a paste of ash and water can be used to polish silver.

If you have any questions about proper ash disposal, don’t be afraid to call the experts at Your Chimney Sweep. We consider it part of our job to educate our customers about fireplace operation and safety.

By Joe Sauter on February 25th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment